The Importance of Craft Time at Work

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communication, Nonprofit, Planning

I love crafting and DIY projects. I have a whole board on Pinterest devoted to projects I want to try.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people that is amazing at crafting. Honestly, I suck at it. Normally, I get bored and stop the project halfway through, only to have my boyfriend take over. Which is totally okay, because it ends up looking better than if I had finished the project myself. But I still love crafting and making things with my hands.

Seth and I made this to celebrate 1 year together instead of buying presents for each other. And by Seth and I, I mean Seth did most of it because I was apparently “doing it the wrong way.”
Seth and I made this to celebrate 1 year together instead of buying presents for each other. And by “Seth and I,” I mean Seth did most of it because I apparently was “doing it the wrong way.”

So, imagine my joy when I realized I could do my pseudo-hobby at work.

The first crafting challenge: make 15 bracelets for teenage girls. My team was going to Girls Inc. to implement our Say It Straight evidence-based practice, which builds assertiveness and communication skills using principles of mindfulness, and one of the activities in the training is called “the necklace of resources.” The premise behind it is to identify what resources you have available to you in the event you need help or need to talk to someone.

We decided to tweak it ever so slightly and changed it to a bracelet of resources. We took a piece of yarn and the girls identified a strength within themselves that would help them be able to Say It Straight. They then had one of the other girls in the group hand them a bead and put it on their bracelet. The whole activity was really fun and the girls seemed to love it, even if I did mess up tying off a few bracelets.

The girls at Girls Inc. making their bracelets.
The girls at Girls Inc. making their bracelets.

But before we got to that point, I had to prepare all of these bracelets. I’m not going to lie, it took a lot longer than it should have, mainly because I cut the strings too short the first time and had to remake the majority of them all.

Not only did I have to make all of the bracelets, I had to sort 500 beads by color.
Not only did I have to make all of the bracelets, I had to sort 500 beads by color.

No. 4
But as I was making these bracelets, I realized how important craft days at work are to me and how I’ve been having a weekly craft day since my first day on the job.

I’m not just talking about a day to build things like bracelets or a Plinko board.

 

My coworker Kira and me building a Plinko board for an event CCPE is attending in August.
My coworker Kira and I are building a Plinko board for an event CCPE is attending in August.
I needed to cover my face with a bandana to avoid a contact high from the spray paint. I’m also pretty sure I freaked some people out in our office building by walking around like that.
I needed to cover my face with a bandana to avoid a contact high from the spray paint. I’m also pretty sure I freaked some people out in our office building by walking around like that.

As an outreach coordinator, I need an entire block of time set aside every week to craft the things I’ll need for the entire week — my social media messages, flyers, posters, blog posts, etc. Knowing I have a set time every week or day to work on these tasks helps me stay focused, calm and organized. Plus, it allows me to be creative and build a stronger team environment with my coworkers because I ask for their feedback. Or in the instance of the Plinko board, they help me with the project.

My coworkers April and Kira diligently painting the Plinko board
My coworkers April and Kira diligently painting the Plinko board.

Here’s a quick overview of how I craft every week and every month. At the beginning of each month I create a social media calendar for the following month, so I’m always one month ahead. So this month I will create one for August. I find a day I can block off a solid two hours to do this, because it actually takes a considerable amount of time to research what is going on in the community, what special days occur in the month, and what my own team has going on.

At the beginning of each week, I look at my social media calendar and identify what blog posts I will need to write for the following week. Again, I like to work about one week in advance for my blog posts so I have enough time to write a few drafts.

At the end of the week, I look at my social media calendar to see what Facebook messages I will need to schedule for the following week. I like to work a few days out for Facebook, the only social media platform CCPE has, in order to adjust to unforeseen events that occur in the world.

Every day, I monitor our social media and blog posts and also check Yik Yak to see if people have any questions about sex or drugs I can address (I’ll talk about my experiences using Yik Yak as a social media marketing tool in another post).

If you find yourself stressed out at work often, I encourage you to devote a day or a block of time each week to craft. Even if you don’t have a job that is remotely similar to mine, take some time to craft an agenda for yourself and prioritize your projects. Or take some time to make something with your hands your office may need, like a Plinko board.

 

 

It still has a long way to go, but it gives us an excuse to have another team craft day down the road.
It still has a long way to go, but it gives us an excuse to have another team craft day down the road.

by Olivia Humphreys | email | LinkedIn | Twitter

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The Better Of Two Goods

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communication, Experience, Internship, Interview, Job, Nonprofit, Olivia, Public Relations, Success

It was the last semester of my college career, and I found myself in an interesting predicament. I had to decide, quickly, between two dream jobs. But first, let’s back up and figure out how I got to that point.

I started my college career wanting to be a sports broadcaster. I had an extensive background in theater, was an avid sports fan and a great writer. I even created a sports broadcasting club in my high school, the Future Broadcaster’s Initiative, or FBI for short (yes, that was intentional).

After spending the first two years of college getting my feet wet at internships with USA Track & Field and Run-Fast in London, England, I realized the sports life was not for me. My realization of this came after talking with several women in the field who told me, “You give up your weekends, holidays, family, friends and basically life. But I promise it’s all worth it!”

Or not.

I am a relationship-focused person. I learned at an early age that relationships are some of our most valuable assets in life, and I wasn’t about to ruin those just to cover some sweaty guys who chase a ball around a field.

So, I changed my course of action my junior year. Instead of a journalism degree with a specialization in sports and broadcasting, I picked up a specialization in public relations. This switch, amazingly, didn’t force me to graduate any later than I had planned, and I actually could have graduated a semester early if I wanted. But I didn’t, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

By the spring semester of my senior year, I had all but one of my required courses completed, and I was free to take a number of electives that greatly enhanced my skill sets and made me a more competent public relations practitioner.

With only three months left in school, I needed a job. I decided to stay in Bloomington for two reasons. The first is because my boyfriend of two and half years was graduating with a degree in biology, and he decided to stay in Bloomington and take a gap year before grad school and work in a lab on campus. The second is because I love Bloomington as a town and had absolutely no desire to move to a huge city where all of the PR agency jobs are. I’m a country girl, remember? I like clean air and nature.

Me and my boyfriend Seth.
Me and my boyfriend Seth.

So, I began my job search using LinkedIn and a number of other websites, which actually worked surprisingly well. I applied to approximately 10 jobs, heard back a solid no from about five of them, interviewed with three, never heard back from one*, and politely declined another interview because the company’s Glassdoor ratings were absolutely abysmal.**

My first interview went okay, but I definitely didn’t leave feeling super confident about it, and I never heard back from the company. My second and third interviews were much better, which led me to my predicament.

One job was with Centerstone working on a grant. I’ll honestly admit that the night before the interview, I was looking over the job description again and turned to my boyfriend and told him I had made a terrible mistake and didn’t think I was right for the job because it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to do. In retrospect this is really funny. But I’ll save that whole story for another blog post.

The interview turned out to be fantastic, it was just the job description that was bad, and I was told I would hear back in about a week. I interviewed on a Friday and was called back on Tuesday with an offer.

Which was great, except it also wasn’t.

You see, I had interviewed with another nonprofit organization on Monday that I knew would be a great opportunity, but I was still waiting to hear back from them. I asked the guy at Centerstone for a week to think about things, and then panicked and emailed my Career Success in PR professor, Maria Heslin, for advice on what to do. I was still waiting to hear back from the other organization, and didn’t expect an answer for a few days.

To make a long story short, the other organization finally emailed me on Thursday asking for a second interview, but by then I had made up my mind thanks to my handy pros and cons list. I decided to work for Centerstone on the Community Capacity for Prevention and Education (CCPE) Grant, because the only con I could come up with was that I may not have a window in my office. Obviously, as the picture below points out, I was so very wrong.

: I have four full length windows in my office! Just look at all that natural light!
I have four full length windows in my office! Just look at all that natural light!

In a situation where there was no wrong choice, I know I made the better one for me personally because I absolutely love coming to work. Every single day.

My first day of work photo I took for my mom.
My first day of work photo I took for my mom.

* If you are a hiring manager, at least have the decency to email those you interview and tell them if you want them or not. It’s the polite thing to do. Also, kudos to Cook and Oliver Winery for doing that already.

** If you’re a hiring manager and not checking your company’s Glassdoor rating, you’re making a huge mistake, because people take those reviews seriously.

 

by Olivia Humphreys | oliviahumphreys4@gmail.com | LinkedIn | @ohumphreys4

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